Canadian Energy Pipeline Association president Chris Bloomer said he understands the Alberta government needs to act on the impasse with British Columbia over Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline project, but is anxious about the potential consequences of the bill.
Alberta has introduced legislation that will allow it to cut off or restrict oil shipments to B.C., thereby forcing up already high prices in the coastal province.
At any rate, we know the government's lawyer can't have been Joe Arvay, Q.C., the well-known B.C. legalist who handled Alberta's "Enron Clause" case that ended last month with a quiet settlement with Calgary-based Enmax Corp.
The legislation, tabled Monday, will give McCuaig-Boyd ultimate authority over crude oil, natural gas or refined fuels being shipped out of the province.
"We need to ensure this pipeline gets built, and I think additional pressure to the government of British Columbia is important and it's a very meaningful signal, an impactful signal from the Alberta government", he said.
Another key industry group, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), said in a statement that while it understands Bill 12 has become necessary, it's concerned the measures could have unintended consequences.
"And we're here to support them and to say if Mr. Trudeau wants to be a climate leader, he has to leave pipelines out of it".
Instead of banking on a long-shot win in the courts, Horgan is focusing on the safer play of enhanced protection for B.C. waters.
Premier John Horgan has been fighting the expansion, even though the federal government approved the $7.4-billion project in November 2016.
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When asked about weighing environmental risks against economic benefits, respondents in B.C. split roughly three ways: 35 per cent said the benefits outweighed the risks, 30 per cent said they were about equal and 34 per cent said the risk was higher than the benefits.
A senior source in the government of Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe told me the same thing Monday. He noted Trudeau's father would not have stood for what the Horgan government is doing - despite his reputation as an oilsands opponent. "They chose the course that I believe they'll be laying out for the people of Canada in the days and weeks ahead, and it'll be up to the members of Parliament to debate those mechanisms, those tools, as they come forward".
A former NDP cabinet minister in the 1990s NDP government told me on the weekend, after the pipeline summit in Ottawa had concluded, that he wondered whether Trudeau had the political resilience to weather the coming storm.
Lawyer Joseph Arvay has been hired by the province to craft the question.
But as Horgan's government drafts its promised reference question for either B.C.'s Supreme Court or Court of Appeals, the wording of that proposal must be very careful if he has any hope of winning a judge's blessing. They defied an injunction that requires protesters to stay 50 metres from Kinder Morgan's facilities.
It appointed special prosecutors Michael Klein and Greg DelBigio to handle the cases of Stewart and May, respectively.
"Until we receive greater clarity and certainty on permitting and approvals, Trans Mountain will not be moving towards broader construction activities", a spokesperson said. "We confirm that our opposition is resolute, and we fully intend to stop this massively destructive pipeline from being built".
"Making unilateral decisions about projects on unceded Indigenous territories is the exact opposite of reconciliation".